ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 just arrived to movie theaters last weekend, and it offers a nice surprise for fans from the St. Louis region, specifically St. Charles.

This image released by Marvel Studios shows Chris Pratt in a scene from “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” (Marvel Studios-Disney via AP)

Star-Lord, a fictional protagonist played by Chris Pratt, is the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy. He is also known in the movie by his Earth name, Peter Quill.

As the narrative goes from the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie in 2014, Quill was born in St. Charles in 1980 as the child of Ego, an extraterrestrial Celestial, and Meredith Quill. At the age of eight, he was abducted by a group called the Ravagers. Over the next 26 years, he builds the reputation of an intergalactic outlaw known as Star-Lord.

Quill, known as part-human, part-alien, founded the Guardians with four others in a quest to save the universe from powerful villain Ronan. The group takes on high-profile challenges in each of the three “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies. In the latest production, Quill decides to return home to Earth after support from fellow Guardians.

In “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Quill reflects on his upbringings and develops the desire to know whether his grandfather is still alive. Quill’s mother died of cancer in the original movie plot, and he never had a chance to meet his father, so his maternal grandfather is his only blood-related family member he realizes might remain on Earth.

Quill, after an intense mission to save one of his closest friends and the Guardians’ home, eventually makes a trip back to St. Charles. Near the end of the movie, Quill heads back to Earth. He believes he mistakenly went to the wrong house, but discovers and surprises his grandfather Jason in the backyard.

In a post-credits scene for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” Quill and his grandfather are seen enjoying breakfast together at a home depicted in St. Charles. His grandfather, acted by Gregg Lee Henry, is seen reading a newspaper from the fictional publication “St. Charles Post.” The scene could possibly serve as a cliffhanger for another film, as it faded to white at the end and revealing message, “The Legendary Star-Lord Will Return.”

Though a very subtle portrayal of St. Charles, it wouldn’t be the first time the city has been connected to Marvel works. There were also some scenes depicting action in St. Charles from “Guardians of the Galaxy, vol. 2,” though one site dedicated to information on Marvel film locations says many of these scenes were filmed in Georgia.

Quill also appears in Avengers: Infinity War, where in a conversation with Iron Man, there’s an exchange as followed:

Iron Man: “You’re from Earth.”
Quill: “I’m not from Earth, I’m from Missouri.”
Iron: “Yeah, that’s on Earth, [expletive].”

Also, in a Marvel animated series called “What If…?,” Quill is working at a St. Charles-based Dairy Queen and ends up meeting his father Ego. It’s an alternate storyline, so it doesn’t follow the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie line, but perhaps shows what life might have been like if Quill stayed in St. Charles and wasn’t abducted.

Where did the possible inspiration of St. Charles in Guardians of the Galaxy movies come from? “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie series director James Gunn was born and raised in the St. Louis area. Reddit and a Marvel Fan Page both reference a tweet from 2018 in which Gunn claimed Quill was a character from St. Charles, though that tweet has since been deleted.

Gunn graduated from St. Louis University High School and St. Louis University before pursuing his career as a film director in the late 1980s. He was also married to Jenna Fischer, another St. Louis native and star on “The Office” briefly in the 2000s.

Gunn’s production of “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” grossed around $300 million globally in its opening weekend. However, Gunn is now the co-chairman and co-CEO of Marvel rival DC Studios, so it appears this could be the last “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie he directs for the foreseeable future.